This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 21, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, would you believe we're doing this all over again? There is another government shutdown looming, my friends, this time over a funding fight over disaster aid.
It gets complicated. Suffice it to say I have got Republican Senator Rand Paul here.
Senator, bottom line, Republicans have been pushing for any amount in FEMA aid, in emergency aid to be paid for. Democrats are balking at it. But this -- this argument could shut the government down; is that true?
SEN. RAND PAUL , R-KY.: Well, you know, we are borrowing $40,000 a second. So I think we do need to pay for anything that we want to spend up here. It has to come from somewhere. And there are repercussions to debt.
So, yes, I think it should be offset. They had a proposal here for many years called pay-as-you-go. The only problem is, they exempted 96 percent of spending from it. So they do not really do the pay-as-you-go as you would think they should. But, yes, if we are going to have money for disaster funding, it needs to come from somewhere, needs to be accounted for, and we need to take it from something that maybe is less urgent.
CAVUTO: All right, now, Republicans are saying that less urgent -- I believe we are talking anywhere from $1.5 billion to $2 billion, right, but that that money should, Republicans say, come from some of these green initiatives which apparently are not panning out. And Solyndra is a good example. Democrats are saying, no freaking way. That's it, right?
PAUL: I would say that it is not so concerning to me where the money comes from, as long as it is not newly borrowed money. So, Senator Coburn...
CAVUTO: But, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. But if it is newly borrowed, you are saying no, even if it means the end of this month we are looking at another potential shutdown of the government?
PAUL: Well, the thing is, is, you have leverage in trying to reform government only when they bump up against deadlines.
There is always a new deadline. In six months, there will be another new deadline. So this is nothing new. Now, the fact that the leadership waits until the very end to bring these things up makes it more of consequence. But I would say, yes, you need to pay for things.
If the disaster relief funding is more urgent than, maybe, building a bike trail, or building a windmill or giving $500 million to Solyndra, I think then you make those priorities, and that is what we should do as legislators, is decide what is of most imminence, what is most urgent.
CAVUTO: All right. I will get into those particulars in just a second, Senator.
But if you will indulge me one more time on this possible shutdown, how likely do you think it is? We are only, what, about 10 days away from facing it.
PAUL: I would say unlikely.
PAUL: I think an achieve -- an agreement will be achieved.
The House has already agreed to the emergency funding, but they want it at a responsible level. And that is where the debate is. But, see, we have a request from the Democratic leadership in the Senate for $7 billion, but we don't know exactly where that is coming from or what that means. So, really, even for emergency funding, it ought be done responsibly.
We should account for where the money is coming from and where it's going to. You remember, after Katrina, we sent money to inmates in the Baton Rouge prison. So I think we really do need to be more responsible with our money.
CAVUTO: Well, the inmates were happy.
CAVUTO: Could I get your take on the president's posture in all of this and what some are calling the son of stimulus? And he is going to be pushing a lot more in the infrastructure route, beginning tomorrow and over the next few days.
What do you make of that and whether this time the White House feels it has a more supporting public?
PAUL: Well, the interesting thing is, he is coming to my state tomorrow to inspect one of the bridges in northern Kentucky. And I'm going to be there. And he invited me to come. And I'm also going to be there with a suggestion of legislation that I will be introducing that would pay for an emergency fund to fund our bridges.
Right now, we set aside 10 percent for bike paths and turtle tunnels and squirrel sanctuaries and all this craziness. I am going to say, let's take 10 percent of the highway fund, set it aside for emergencies, and then have a national priority list and say, if this bridge is closed down, that is a national emergency. Let's fix it as a priority.
CAVUTO: What happens -- I know we have done this before with gasoline taxes and in your state and many other states tolls for tunnels and bridges, all of this meant, in various state initiatives, a number of cracks by the federal government at this, for roads and bridges again and again.
So what has happened to all that money designed for that purpose? Where did it go?
PAUL: Well, like in my state, $28 million last year was spent on movie theaters, bike paths, beautification projects. And that is happening in every state. And this is what has to stop. We have bridges. We had one fall down in Minneapolis. We have one closed in Louisville, and we have one crumbling in northern Kentucky.
This is a national emergency. But I think, at the same time, we cannot send money overseas in foreign welfare through foreign aid when we can't fix our own bridges. And we shouldn't be building nations in Afghanistan when our bridges are closed down in our major metropolitan areas.
So we do have to make a decision. And I have got a solution. If the president is willing to work with me, I am willing to work with him to say, this is how we would do it. We won't have to wait to see if his jobs plan can pass, which it well may not be able to pass, but I guarantee the bill that I am proposing could pass.
And if he really wants to fix our bridges, he will invite me down, and I have asked for a ride on his plane tomorrow. He will invite me down. We will talk about the bridges fund, and we could fix it tomorrow, if he's willing to work with the other side.
CAVUTO: That I would like to see. Cue me into that.
But your dad is debating tomorrow night, and I noticed from the last debate that he and Texas Governor Rick Perry got in each other's face. And I'm wondering if it is now personal, if these two really strongly, strongly don't just like each other.
PAUL: I think it is less than that. I think some of the pictures were representing more, sort of, tension than actually was there.
I think if you -- you have met my father many times. He is very mild- mannered and not very confrontational. He believes firmly in his ideals.
CAVUTO: Yes, but Governor Perry got in his face. I mean, I didn't need to see a picture. I saw the video.